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In December 1792, Mr. Fox said, he had this exhibit between the present and the made a motion, * to which he certainly ancient state of England, when the power could not, without a degree of egotism, of control which belonged to the vigorous recur, because he could not recur to it understanding and the manly spirit of without pride and satisfaction to himself. Englishmen was extinct, and the people. He asked, whether a negociation might not were supinely content to wait until obstis" have been entered upon at that moment nate fury should, by its natural course, with a greater probability of securing a correct itself! Oh, miserable England, beneficial peace to England than now ? to what a state are you fallen, when such He had in every session since that period, is the wretched consolation in which you renewed, in one way or another, the same indulge! motion ;'and he desired to know whether The expedition to Quiberon was one our perverse continuance in the proud of the grand sources by which this condenial of its being the proper moment to viction was produced in ministers. He negociate, had bettered our condition, or knew not by whom that expedition was opened to us the prospect of a more ho- planned; he knew not in whose desperate nourable termination of the war? On the bosom the idea of the horrid expedition contrary, had we not from year to year was engendered, but it was a scene over entangled ourselves deeper, and rendered which the heart of every manly Briton the practicability of peace upon safe and shed tears of blood; and 'which had done honourable ternis more hopeless ? But, more mischief to the British character, there was one point of view in which our had sunk it lower in the eyes of observant present situation had been viewed by an Europe, and would stain it more in the hon. gentleman, very much connected with estimation of posterity, than all the rest ministers, and who, he hoped, spoke on of the operations of this war, frantic, base, the present occasion authoritatively. The and inhuman as many of its projects had hon. gentleman had said, that he was now been. Good God! to think that so many willing to admit, that all prospect of re- brave and honourable men, among whom storing the emigrants to their estates, and there were gentlemen of the purest feelings the Bourbon family to the throne of France and of the most honourable principles, was hopeless; that it was a matter of should be led to massacre in the way in prudence to calculate the value of an ob- which they were! That one of the most jeet, together with the chance of procur- gallant among them the [count de Soming it, and not to pursue any object, hown breuil) should be denied the slender conever desirable, beyond the rational hope solation which he requested in his expirof obtaining it. If the disasters of the ing moments of having his letter made war had produced this conviction in the public, was such an act of savage barbaminds of ministers, he, who thought that rity as would leave an eternal stain upon wisdom was the first of human acquisi- England, if parliament and the people did tions, and that prudence in the governors not testify their indignation by fixing a of a state was not merely a most valuable strong mark of censure upon its authors. but a most necessary virtue, would be Yet even this lesson--even the dreadful willing to allow that our situation was issue of this abominable scheme-did not improved. It was improved, because our produce the effect upon the minds of his ministers were brought at length to a con- majesty's ministers which might have been viction of their error; because they had expected ; another expedition was framed, returned to their senses. But, good God, in which the emigrants were to be emwhat a series of calamity and disaster had ployed in a descent upon the coast of been required to produce this restoration France. The second expedition was of their reason! What a state of degra- concerted, perhaps, with somewhat less dation must that House and the country indiscretion, and somewhat less barbarity, be come to, that it should be held out as than the first; but it seemed to have its a matter of exultation, and as a proof of origin in the same principles, and to our situation being improved, that minis- owe its birth to the same parent. ters had been at length corrected, not by owing only to its utter failure that it had the indignation and energy of the people, not been equally disastrous ; for if the but by the consequences of their own im- expedition to L'Isle Dieu had been carbecility and guilt! What a contrast did ried into effect in the same manner as the

first, the unfortunate persons must have * See Vol. 30, p. 80.

been equally abandoned.

It was

And yet,

though not attended with the same fatal time of the House, with any

observations effects as the first, the expedition had upon this kind of reasoning.

He was been attended with misfortune Our fleet confident that the natural plain sense and had been exposed to great risk on a dan- understandings of Englishmen, who had gerous coast; and even now we must always been distinguished for their love either land the stores upon L'Isle Dieu, of direct and plain dealing, would soon for the maintenance of the unhappy per- be disgusted, and reject with indignation sons still there, or abandon them to the and nausea a cause that required such certain, though lingering death of famine, refinement of reasoning to support it. or to the more merciful doom of the guil. An hon. gentlemen had said, that the lotine. It was impossible to animadvert opinions of the French were certainly upon the conduct of ministers in these specious in themselves, and calculated to expeditions without being astonished at intoxicate the minds of the lower ranks the insanity with which they were planned of men; but that, in their own nature, It must now be a matter of secret congra- they would, sooner or later, generate such tulation to themselves that every one of a tyranny as that which Robespierre extheir projects had failed ; their success hibited, which again, in its own nature, would have made it impossible for them would correct the impression which the to have maintained the argument which specious opinions had originally made. they had beld that day. What did they The war, then, with all its disasters had do? They sent an officer to summon Belle been so far useful, that it had accelerated Isle in the name of Louis 18th, the rightful | the conviction which Robespierre's ty. king of France, and thus they made their ranny would of itself have more slowly officer declare a falsehood, a direct false- produced. The war was a sort of yeast hood, as great a falsehood as if he were that fermented this tyranny: and thus, traitor enough to declare that cardinal York in this idle train of reasoning, was the was the rightful king of Great Britain. But House presented with another theory in what must have been the consequence if, \ excuse of the war. If men were to play upon this summons, Belle Isle or Noir with such theories as matter of amusemoutier had yielded ? We must have ment, he should certainly not contend landed and taken possession of them in the about them. He should then be exname of Louis 18th, and the unfortunate tremely willing to leave them as a very prince, just landed in the place under our good theme for school-boys, as the hon. auspices, would have been identified with seconder had said ; but it was a dreadful our cause, and we should have been thing when such theories were taken up pledged to the restoration of this legal by statesmen, and gravely acted upon as monarch in his rights. Could we then legitimate causes for plunging their counhave had the blessing which was this day try into the horrors of war. Such theoheld up, of abandoning a course, which ries might suit well for a literary or a could no longer be pursued with rational political disputant, and might be made hopes? We should then have been re- very amusing either in a club-room or in duced to the melancholy alternative of a pamphlet; but for a man to undertake abandoning the prince and his followers the oflice of a statesman, and to bring with infamy, or of prosecuting his cause such theories into practice, was such an under the most desperate circumstances. outrage, not merely upon common sense, Fortunately for ministers, however, their but upon moral duty, as must shock the project had failed, and they were thus re- heart of every considerate, and of every lieved by the want of success from the feeling mind. What a picture of human folly of their act. It was by this sort of wantonness did it not exhibit, that in reasoning alone that he could resolve the order to ascertain the question, whether strange paradox of the seconder of the a certain set of opinions might be brought motion, who had said, that the very fai- so much more speedily into disrepute, it lure of the war had produced good con- was a good and right thing that a hunsequences. If it were applied to our ex- dred millions of money should be squanpeditions to the coast of France, it per- dered, and hundreds of thousands of our haps might hold true, as the consequence fellow.creatures be put to death! in his was a conviction in the breasts of 'minis- mind, a war against opinions was in no ters, that it was impracticable to pursue one instance, and could not be, either the restoration of Louis any more. just or pardonable. A war of self-defence

It was with pain that he took up the 1 against acts he could understand, he could explain, and he could justify; but no war | fascination of French principles on the against opinions could be supported by rea- minds of the people of this country. But, son or by justice: it was drawing the sword surely, they could not say that these of the inquisition. How could we blame principles continued to be fascinating and all those abominable acts of bloodshed and tempting after the reign of Robespierre. torture, which had been committed from If ever they had any attraction for the time to time under the specious name of popular mind, they surely must have lost religion, when we ourselves had the pre- it, and become, on the contrary, the desumption to wage a similar war? Who testation and horror of every human would say, that all the blood that had being, as exhibited under the implacable been spilt from the fury of religious en tyranny of that despicable miscreant. thusiasm, might not have been made to Did they make overtures of peace when flow from the pure but misguided motive these principles had lost their temptation? of correcting opinions, when we ourselves What! it would be said, would you have thus dared to dip our hands in the blood treated with Robespierre? Why not of our fellow.creatures, on the mere pre- with Robespierre? Do we not daily text of correcting the errors of opinion ? treat with tyrants? He would have We must change all the doctrines that treated with Robespierre ; not because we had been taught to cherish about re- he did not think his government the most ligious persecution and intolerance; we disgusting tyranny that ever existed, but must begin to venerate the authors of the because England had nothing to do with holy inquisition, and consider them as his tyranny. On the 27th of July, Ro. pious and pure men, who committed their bespierre was cut off, and his principles murders for the beneficent purpose of were declared to be infamous. Why did correcting the heresies which they consi- not ministers then make overtures of dered as so abominable, and restoring peace? There was nothing in their forthe blessings of what they conceived to mer conduct that could give that House be the only true system of christianity. or the nation confidence in their intenlu the same manner, the present war tions of making peace whenever the faagainst opinions was to be entitled to our vourable opportunity should arrive. On esteem, and its authors to be venerated the contrary, they stood convicted of for their morality. In this war they also fraud ; for when an hon. friend of his were great conquerors; they had lost (Mr. Grey) made a motion on the 25th towns, cities, nay kingdoms, they had of January last,* which it was not found squandered a hundred millions of money, convenient directly to oppose, an amendthey had lost a hundred thousand men, ment was moved, declaring that they they had lost their allies, they had lost were ready to enter into a negociation, the cause of the emigrants, they had lost whenever there should be a government the throne to the family of the Bourbons, established in France, capable of main

- but they had gained a set of rather taining the customary relations of amity better opinions to France !

and peace. Did they offer negociation He contended, that at every moment when it was proved by experience that from the commencement of the war to France had such a government ? It had the present instant, our ministers might been proved that France did maintain have negociated with the French upon such relations of peace and amity, for better terms than they could at this time! Prussia had made peace with her, Spain and that our relative situation had been had made peace with her, many of the gradually growing worse. The famous states of Germany had made peace with decree of the 19th November, 1792, was her, and among others, the elector of the first great pretext for going to war. Hanover had made peace. The hon. seThat decree we might have got rid of conder of the motion had said, that any by negociation. But if that decree was one who made an argument on the conan obstacle to negociation, it was well duct of the elector of Hanover, and reaknown that the disgusting tyrant Ro- soned on it as an example for England, bespierre himself not only formally re- would deserve to be treated as a school. pealed it, but made it the pretext for boy. He must submit to incur the immurdering Brissot and about one hundred putation; for he confessed, with deference persons more, whom he called its authors. to the hon. gentleman, that it was worthy Why not negociate after that decree was repealed? Oh! they were afraid of the

* See Vol. 31, p. 1193

to be discussed. He was ready to own, which they have formed with foreign that there might be situations in which countries. I will not speak of the recent the conduct of the elector of Hanover treaties they have entered into; but let in a negociation might not be a model for us look how all the successive parties England; but what was the case here have acted towards Sweden in the neu

The right hon. gentleman opposite, in trality which she established. The party speaking of the state of France, said, that of Brissot, the party of the Mountain if a peace was concluded with her, in her which succeeded the pariy of the Gironthen condition, he should at least have to dists, the individual tyranny of Robesexclaim,

pierre, into which the Mountain subsided, Potuit quæ plurima virtus

the party which overthrew Robespierre, Esse, fuit; toto certatum est corpore regni. and all the shades and changes of governHer situation had not changed when the ment which have happened since, have Hanoverian minister thought it his duty with uniform fidelity observed the treaty to negociate with them for peace. Would with Sweden, and maintained the relathe right hon. gentleman say on the occa- tions of peace and amity which subsisted sion,

between them. In like manner, some Potuit quæ plurima virtus

changes have happened since the treaty Esse, fuit; toto certatum est corpore regni? with Prussia, and it has nevertheless been He did not believe that he would venture regularly maintained. It is idle to talk to make any such assertion. They had of the theory of a constitution being a heard that night much panegyric on the ground of dependence for the observance new constitution of France. They might of a treaty. If a rational treaty is made, almost have supposed themselves sitting and it is the interest of the parties to in the convention, and to have heard keep it, that is the only true and wise Louvet, or some other author of the new dependence which you can have for the constitution, delivering a panegyric on it. continuance of peace. All our hopes were now to be fixed upon It had been said, continued Mr. Fox, this new constitution. He confessed, for that much had been done to meliorate and one, he was not willing to place much soften down the opinions of France. He dependance upon a constitution of which asked, whether a recognition of their inhe knew nothing, and which had not been dependence and an offer to treat, would tried ; but this was the new theory of the not do more to bring the people of that day; this constitution was to be capable country to an amicable disposition to treat of maintaining the accustomed relations of than all our failures had hitherto done? peace and amity. Mark the conclusion But it was urged, that the offer to treat of this argument, that the proper time for ought first to come from France. He said treating together for peace, was to be that the offer ought to come from us, beput off until we had experience of this cause we had made resolutions, and had new constitution. What was to be the been guilty of the indiscretion of coming to term of probation he knew not; one declarations that stood in the way of negothing only was certain, that on this new ciation. These must be done away in order pretext, the war was to be continued. to bring us to an even footing. It was said, What if this constitution, like all their would you leave them the Low Countries former constitutions, should fail? Why, I and Holland ? That House was not the then our hopes of peace must fail too, place, nor was the present the time, to talk and we must begin again. What a mi- of terms. There was no doubt of one imserable series of subterfuge and expedient portant fact, and ministers might go to a was all this! But, say they, would you negociation with a confidence of that fact, make peace with a country that changes namely, that if France, on account of her its constitution so often? To which, successes, exacted high terms, such as said Mr. Fox, I answer yes, I would ; if were inconsistent with the honour and inthey changed their constitution every terests of this country, they would be supweek, nay, every day, if they had seven ported in the dire, but then necessary, constitutions a week, I would treat with alternative of continuing the war. The them. What have I to do with their terms at the same time in every negociachanges of constitution ? Experience tion must depend on the relative situation has shown that neither the changes of of the parties. But he would not admit men, nor, the changes of constitution, of that eternal evasion that the time was have had any effect on the engagements improper. One year we were too high


to treat, another year we were too low; quantity of grain in the kingdom, and the and thus the continuance of the war was subject was recommended to their most prolonged, without any calculation be- serious consideration. Whenever it came ing made whether the expense of continu- before them, he should give it certainly the ing it for one year, was not more than the most careful and the most impartial exadifference of terms we might expect be- mination. It was not his opinion that it tween a good and a bad relative situation. was greatly within the province of human In his mind, every time was the proper legislation to do much on such a topic : time for treating ; and it would not be de- but what could be done in the way of renied but that we had suffered more favour- gulation, he trusted they should with one able periods to escape than we were likely voice steadily and expeditiously pursue. again to possess. When we were masters Nothing, he believed, would do so much of Valenciennes and Condé, and France towards preventing the evil of a scarcity, was beset on every side, with insurrec- as to give to the people the restoration of tions raging in her bowels, that was the peace, which would be likely to bring with favourable time to treat. But no, we it its usual companion, plenty. It was an were then too high. What! treat when insult on common sense to say that war she almost lay expiring at our feet? We and military expeditions did not, in their suffered that moment to pass. Last year, very nature, aggravate scarcity by inagain, we had great success in the West creasing consumption. Putting the whole Indies; Guadaloupe and St. Lucia were country into the military state which ours, in addition to Martinique, and England was at this time at home, necesFrance was obviously desirous of peace. sarily increased the consumption of grain, No, then again we were too high, and and if this was the case, how much more we were asked in a lofty strain in did the argument hold good with respect the month of June last, What, shall to expeditions to distant parts ? we treat with her when she lies in quantity of increased consumption, withher last agony? Nothing, they said, out taking into the account the quantities could save her, and it was our interest to damaged and lost, was immense, and he withhold from her the peace of which she would be bold to say, that if government, was desirous. The event has proved that instead of interfering with regular merthe prediction was not well founded ; and chants, and putting an end to all the here we are, after three years war, re- active competition of men, more expert in duced to a state in which we are said to trade than themselves, had followed the be too low to treat, with nothing left us example of the government of France, but the hopes that some day or another a with respect to the ships at Brest, and favourable opportunity will arise for ne- had unloaded the transports that were gociation. In the mean time we have sent to Quiberon Bay, they would have only one of all our allies left to us, and done more towards alleviating the late that ally must, by the principle on which scarcity, than by all the corn which their she has acted for the last year, be hired to agents imported. continue her alliance. All our hopes were He could not leave that miserable exto be founded on our conquests in the pedition to Quiberon Bay, without again West Indies. Let us look with an impar- expressing his indignation at it. The tial eye at the state of our West Indies. House would do him the justice to recol* Was there any thing very consoling in lect how much beyond his usual pertinathat quarter of the world? He dreaded city he had urged them to avoid the indisto encounter the examination. The French cretion and cruelty of employing the emi. commerce, it was said, was utterly annihi- grants on any such expedition. He had lated; and the French navy, too, was re- said, that they could not be employed so duced. We had certainly had many bril- as to stand on the saine terms with our liant naval achievements, which did im- own troops ; that their condition would mortal honour to the British flag ; but at be desperate in regard to France; that the same time, it would not be said that therefore it was neither politic with resour own trade was entirely protected. In- pect to ourselves, nor kind and considesurance to Jamaica had risen from four to rate with regard to them; that if we emeight per cent.; and he did not think that ployed them on any such expedition, we even our internal situation was improved. identified their cause with ours, and made His majesty's speech had held out a it impossible for us to retract with honour, melancholy picture with respect to the whatever might be the events of the war. [VOL. XXXII.]


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